CAPSULE REVIEW: Love chips, but want less fat and more fiber...and maybe something a little more “gourmet” than the familiar old fried potato slice? All-natural Arico Cassava Chips, in Original plus Barbecue Bliss, Ginger On Fire and Sea Salt Mist, belong on your plate. We love the elegant flavor profiles of these chips, which are sophisticated enough to be served with dinner. The healthier profile is a bonus. This is Page 1 of a two-page article. Click on the black links below to visit Page 2.
Although it is rarely seen in North America outside of Latin American markets and restaurants, cassava—also spelled Cassava, and also known as manioc and yucca—is a staple of nearly 500 million people worldwide. The root of a woody shrub native to the Amazon basin, cassava is the third largest source of carbohydrate food in the world.* It is a popular replacement for potatoes in the countries where it is grown, a resilient root and grows well in arid or drought-ridden soils.
*Claude Fauquet and Denis Fargette, (1990) “African Cassava Mosaic Virus: Etiology, Epidemiology, and Control,” Plant Disease, Vol. 74(6): 404-11.
Thousands of years ago, the subtropical plant was carried from the Amazon basin throughout Latin America and, through long boat journeys, to Africa and Asia. (Arico purchases its cassava roots from farmers on the island of Java, in the South Pacific.) Today, travelers can enjoy cassava in purées (liked mashed potatoes), fried, made into dumplings, added to soups and stews, in bread, pies and puddings. Tapioca is made from cassava root flour.
Now, you can take a bite of this ancient food—a crunchy bite. Arico Natural Foods has brought gluten-free Cassava Chips to America. In four flavors, with 30% to 40% less fat (depending on the flavor) and twice as much dietary fiber as potato chips, these all-natural chips are a healthier alternative,** as well as an exotic new addition to the snack and garnish repertoire. They add a fresh, new taste to crunchy foods. The thin, yellowy disks with their brown edges add a graceful design to the plate as well.
Cassava shrubs growing in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cassava is a root plant that grows underground like the potato, which also originated in South America, in Peru. Photo by Bob Walker, courtesy of Wikipedia.org.